Behavioral Health Crisis Services
In October 2020, the President signed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (Public Law No: 116-172), making the 988 line the universal telephone number for the national suicide and crisis lifeline system. The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act also expanded the scope of the Lifeline to include mental health and substance use crises.
New Hampshire implemented the 988 number as the Lifeline in July 2022, which offers call, text, and chat options for people experiencing a behavioral health crisis.
In addition, when a person experiences a behavioral health crisis calls the 988 Lifeline, they are connected with a mobile crisis response team, if needed. Mobile crisis response teams offer community-based interventions, including triage, assessment, and de-escalation to individuals in need wherever they are, which are more effective and more cost-effective than hospitalization.
Right now, this system is funded by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal funding, which are set to expire in 2025. New Hampshire needs to identify a sustainable funding source for these services to ensure Granite Staters continue to have access to a system of behavioral health care that is comprehensive, robust, integrated, effective, and just.
A 2023 senate bill (SB 85) would create a study commission to determine the best source of sustainable funding for behavioral health crisis services in New Hampshire. SB 85 also removes preauthorization requirements for Granite Staters seeking emergency behavioral health crisis services.
New Futures supports SB 85 because it takes a step toward establishing sustainable funding for New Hampshire’s behavioral crisis system. It also limits preauthorization requirements, which is an evidence-based, best practice intervention that has been demonstrated in national studies to be ultimately cost saving and achieves better outcomes for children, adults and families. Together, these measures will ensure that Granite Staters can easily access critical behavioral health crisis services.
SB 85 has a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, January 25th at 9:30 am in room 101 in the Legislative Office Building.
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